Ashfield Meetings & Events unleash ‘The Power Of You’

Ashfield Meetings & Events unleash ‘The Power Of You’

i Sep 14th No Comments by


Ashfield Meetings & Events (part of UDG Healthcare plc) ran their annual conference – The Lab – on Thursday 23 August at East Midlands Conference Centre, based at The University of Nottingham.

The Lab, is an interactive event for the agencies UK staff, dedicated to delivering continued professional development, building supplier partnerships and driving creativity. It is designed to complement the agency’s award-winning learning and development programme.

The event theme ‘The Power of You’ focussed on the individual strengths of employees and how collectively they help to create solutions for clients. The Lab had 200 attendees (including a number of preferred suppliers) and provided staff with the opportunity to share their own stories through a combination of ice-breakers, facilitated workshops, AV demonstrations, external speakers and an exhibition environment.

Penny Callaghan (Director, Operations and Business Services) said: “The Lab is a valuable and an important date in our calendar – and as a business we’re serious about developing and investing in our people. It is an opportunity for us to share insight and understanding, develop more collaborative relationships and build strategic partnerships.”

Janina Monaghan (Head of Global Sales Support) commented: “The Lab is growing from strength to strength and this year, the event allowed our staff the opportunity to discover more about their colleagues through interactive workshops and discover the benefits of storytelling as a communications tool.”

For more information about Ashfield Meetings & Events and its sister brand SPARK THINKING go to

HelmsBriscoe Names New Vice President, EMEA

i Sep 12th No Comments by

HelmsBriscoe, the global leader in meetings procurement and site selection services, recently announced the appointment of Carole McKellar as Vice President of the HelmsBriscoe EMEA team. In her role, Carole will be responsible for consolidating and overseeing company operations across the EMEA region, as well as providing input into the overall strategic direction of the company.

Carole joined HelmsBriscoe in 2009 and previously worked as Managing Director for their Northern European team. In her newly expanded position, Carole’s responsibilities will include the advancement of the HB brand in the EMEA region, leadership development, and support for HelmsBriscoe Associates.

“I am thrilled to take on this new role with HelmsBriscoe,” said McKellar. “I look forward to working with the EMEA team, as well as our Executive leadership, to continue to grow HelmsBriscoe’s global reach.”


Carole has more than 25 years of experience owning and running companies, in addition to organizing corporate, association, sporting, and education events. Carole has been recognized as a Woman of Influence and the M&IT Personality of the Year for her outstanding contributions to the meetings industry, as well as for her efforts in creating a work experience program for young adults with autism. Carole is a trainer and mentor in the meetings industry, as well as a specialist in employee engagement with a focus on driving successful meetings management policies.

“Over the last nine years, Carole has demonstrated excellent leadership skills,” said HelmsBriscoe’s Founder & CEO, Roger Helms. “We are confident she will continue to do great things for our Associates and clients in this expanded role.”


Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy®  07768 401009

Ashfield Meetings & Events strengthens creative team following increase in requests to deliver global full service live events

i Aug 14th No Comments by


Ashfield Meetings & Events (part of UDG Healthcare plc) has strengthened its UK creative team, as the largest event management agency specialising in the healthcare sector sees an increase in requests to deliver full service live events for global clients.

Three new members have recently joined Head of Creative, Ian Anderson’s team in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire.

Laura Burnside; Senior Exhibition Designer, Dan Peach; Creative Events Designer, and Ellie Taylor; Junior 3D Designer

Laura Burnside as Senior Exhibition Designer, Dan Peach as Creative Events Designer, and Ellie Taylor as Junior 3D Designer.

Laura brings with her a wealth of 3D design experience and talent, having worked in a similar role for such well-known brands as Starbucks and Harrods in the past, and most recently she’s freelanced for design consultancies around the Midlands. In her new position, she’ll be responsible for the creative ideas and designs of the unique exhibition structures for many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical businesses, while also lending her expertise to the non-healthcare clients of Ashfield’s sister brand, SPARK THINKING.

Dan joins from a design consultancy in Derby where his innovative outlook and outstanding graphic design skills were used across a variety of clients and industries, including a well-received campaign aimed at raising awareness of Multiple Sclerosis. As a specialist in branding and corporate identity, Dan will focus on the 2D design elements of the meetings and events of Ashfield and SPARK clients – from event branding, pop up banners and stage backdrops to information booklets and name badges. Dan also brings animation abilities to the talented in-house team.

Twenty-year-old Ellie is currently studying Interior Architecture and Design at the University of Lincoln, and is the team’s first undergraduate placement. Over the next year, Ellie will support on the growing 3D exhibition side of the business, while learning the design distinctions of a full service live events agency from the wider creative team.

Ian Anderson highlights that the addition of three new members couldn’t have come at a better time, as Ashfield has seen a significant increase in clients requesting full service live events support over the past year.

“Laura, Dan and Ellie join us at a particularly exciting time, as clients are increasingly recognising our full service strengths and capabilities,” says Ian. “Clients appreciate the ease and advantages of working with a company that specialises in everything from sourcing the venue and logistics, right through to the creative, content, and production required to provide full-service, experiential delivery. This is where our three new creatives’ exceptional skills and experiences will come into play.”

The creative team expansion follows a succession of new business-wins and growth of existing services for current Ashfield and SPARK clients, and the whole company is celebrating following its most recent award-win at this year’s International Corporate Event (ICE) Awards – ‘Most Effective Agency Collaboration’ with leading pharmaceutical business, Sanofi UK .

“Our full service event, ‘Sanofi-FEST,’ was a fantastic example of how we deliver flawless events with certainty and impact – with our team’s designs particularly adding to the ‘impact’ element thanks to distinctive branding that ran throughout,” adds Ian Anderson. “I’m confident Laura, Dan and Ellie will only strengthen an already successful team and our clients will benefit hugely from their knowledge, ideas and talents.”

For more information about Ashfield Meetings & Events and its sister brand SPARK THINKING go to 

Take a Cleansing Breath for Yourself, Our Communities and the Earth at IMEX America 2018

i Aug 14th No Comments by

Show’s Wellness & Sustainability Programs Focus on Feeling Good and Spreading Goodness

IMEX America is always a key time in the industry calendar to gear up for high energy networking and power business, but it’s also an opportunity to take a deep breath and set aside time to be kind to ourselves, the communities around us, and the Earth.

Sustainability in Action~ Rethinking Burgers to Bottles

From its earliest days IMEX America has been tirelessly dedicated to running the show with strong sustainability standards in mind – part of the positive legacy IMEX is continually working to build.   This means not only pursuing big goals such as recycling and energy conservation rates but also thinking the show through to the smallest of details. For example in 2017 after informing attendees about water-wise menu options, 26% of burgers purchased at the show were turkey, black bean, or beef/mushroom. Or how about the red show carpet, which most don’t give a second thought to but IMEX ensures is made from recycled materials and reused as much as possible from one year to the next.

In line with these levels of caring, for the first time at IMEX America this year, the Sands will collect paper recycling from booths separately and increase the supply of 4-stream recycling bins in communal areas. This will be just part of what will push IMEX America towards its 2018 waste diversion goal of 90%. Additionally, a new Water Bottle Refill Movement will encourage exhibitors to have water dispensers on their booths (to supplement those already in the halls), and attendees are urged to bring a reusable water bottle to the show.

Designed to raise awareness and foster action, sustainability education sessions will feature throughout the show including “Traveling Towards Sustainable Development Goals”, with Sustained Impact and Astrapto LLC on Wednesday,  “Taking the Sustainability Pledge,” taught by Freeman on Thursday, and daily Sands back-of-house tours (check out www.imexamerica.comin mid-August for a full education schedule).

Spread Goodness & Be Well

 As part of its holistic sustainability approach, IMEX Americawill continue to beat the drum on the positive impact of giving back to the communities we touch, as well as the importance of taking care of ourselves and our own health.

Clean the World: getting involved, making recycled toiletry kits

A new Giving Back Booth (formerly the CSR & Sustainability Showcase) will feature ideas and activities on getting involved such as making recycled toiletry kits with Clean the World, donating a book to Spread the Word Nevada, or being aware of the Badge Back program to benefit the Teacher’s Exchange.  IMEX will again make monetary donations to The Shade Tree shelter and Opportunity Village as part of its long standing relationship with the two local charities.

Last but not least, as we must take good care of ourselves to have the energy to help others and up-level to greener meetings, so our zen, wellness space will be back by popular demand. The Be Well Lounge brought to you by Lee PapaTM, Inspired by Mindful Makeovers, is sponsored by Imprint Events Group and will feature guided meditation and mindfulness classes. Also in this space comfy couches, yoga mats, relaxing music, and chill lighting await participants that just need to take some quiet time away from the show floor.

To stimulate hearts and minds in a different way, the fun, 5K #IMEXrun will again take place early Wednesday morning down the Strip and a new Caesars Forum Walking Challenge by Heka Health will launch. The Walking Challenge will foster friendly competition by offering prizes for meeting step goals. For those that sign up, step counts will be gathered via their FitBit, Jawbone, Apple Watch, Garmin, or cell phones with AppleFit or Google Health, and a Challenge leaderboard will show who’s high stepping. To pre-register click here:

Attendees can stay hydrated and healthy thanks to hydration stations throughout the show along with plenty of healthy food and beverage choices on hand as with past IMEX America’s.

‘Puppy Petting’… irresistible!

Finally, speaking of hands-on, how about petting a dog to lower blood pressure and bring big smiles to people’s faces?  MPI will once again bring in a puppy petting station on Smart Monday to get the week up and running with a happy wag!

“Our people, and the communities and places around the world where we are lucky enough to meet and work are the greatest gifts we have as an industry,” said Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group. “Our sustainability, CSR and Wellness programs in Las Vegas are all about celebrating, fostering and caring for these gifts in new and interesting ways. We encourage all to chip in and get involved.”

IMEX America takes place October 16 – 18 at the Sands® Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian®| The Palazzo® in Las Vegas, preceded by Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on October 15.

Registration is open – and free. 

Innovative thinking at the heart of IBTM World 2018

i Aug 14th No Comments by

IBTM today announced Duncan Wardle, one of the primary creative forces behind The Walt Disney Company, as the first of three exciting keynote speakers lined up for IBTM World 2018, taking place in Barcelona from 27-29 November.

Duncan’s session leads the ‘innovation, technology and creativity stream’ of the KnowledgeProgramme and will kick-off the schedule on Day 2. Titled ‘Think Different the Disney Way’,Duncan will draw on his 25-year career with The Walt Disney Company, and his experience leading a team of creative ideation consultants, to show how leveraging creative thinking can generate far reaching and unexpected business results.

Duncan was part of the team that led the delivery of EuroDisney and Disney cruises and held several roles in the company before being appointed Vice President of Innovation and Creativity. Duncan is now an independent Innovation Consultant, working with companies such as Coca Cola, Ford and Johnson & Johnson.

The full programme of 63 sessions that form this year’s Knowledge Programme cover seven topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating on the latest industry issues and hot topics so that delegates leave motivated to apply learnings to their own exciting events. As well as innovation, technology and creativity, content falls under the following streams; industry trends; engagement and experiences; safety and security; sustainability and CSR; professional development, recruitment and wellbeing; and business development and strategy.

Shane Hannam, Portfolio Director, IBTM, comments: “We’re delighted to announce our firstkeynote speaker for IBTM World 2018. We look to inspire people with fresh-thinking from outside of the industry, and Duncan really epitomises this. He will give real life examples from his time at Disney, including sharing a toolkit to inspire and different way of thinking to drive change in the culture of a business – something that will be of direct benefit to our customers.”

IBTM World’s 2018 edition is set to be another unmissable event, with new exhibitors including Tourism New Zealand; Plus DMC Group, Standard International Management hotel group and creative technology company Codemodeon, which develops fun experiences by utilising breakthrough technology in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Returning brands include Hyatt Hotel Group, Hilton, Kempinski Hotels, Germany Convention Bureau, Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau, Slovenia Meetings, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, VisitScotland and partners Barcelona Convention Bureau amongst many others.

Shane continued: “We’ve got a really exciting programme lined up for IBTM World this year.The event is centred around the theme of technology and how it can enhance every aspect of producing great events – from enabling creativity to analysing and understanding industry trends to helping us to create better, more useful connections. We’re looking forward to announcing more updates in due course.”

IBTM’s flagship show at Fira Gran Via Barcelona, IBTM World 2017 saw almost 3,000 exhibiting companies from over 150 countries joined by 3,463 buyers and thousands of visitors for a packed schedule of meetings, networking and educational sessions. Over 74,000 pre- scheduled meetings were arranged over the three days.

Ashfield Meetings & Events wins ‘Most Effective Agency Collaboration’ for second year running at International Corporate Event (ICE) Awards

i Jul 24th No Comments by


It’s a win for the second year in a row for full service events management agency Ashfield Meetings & Events, as the healthcare industry meetings specialist celebrates being presented with the award for ‘Most Effective Agency Collaboration’ for ‘SanofiFEST’ – the company day for leading pharmaceutical company, Sanofi UK.

Part of UDG Healthcare, the Ashfield team, led by Account Director Heather Sharp, together with Sanofi’s Meetings & Events Executive, Lorraine Lawrence, were presented with the award at last week’s exciting ceremony at the Design Museum in London. Both commented on how thrilled they were to walk away with such an esteemed accolade for this unique and effective event.

“We collaborated with Ashfield Meetings & Events to deliver our Company Day, and they provided full service project management, including creative, content, production and logistics support,” explains Lorraine Lawrence. “Very early in the planning stages we highlighted that we were looking for a much more innovative event – a departure from the familiar. We wanted to create an environment that would inspire our employees to step outside their comfort zone and feel and act differently.”

Collaborating closely on how this might be done, following a series of working events a Sanofi Festival was conceptualised – ‘SanofiFEST.’

On the day, over 700 delegates arrived at the Beaumont Estate in Windsor to be greeted by an entrance lined with teardrop flags, colourful directional signage, bunting and obligatory festoon lights leading up to food trucks, retro camper vans and 4 large-scale impressive tent structures. Stilt walkers, acrobats and jugglers brought smiles to delegate faces and ensured there would be no mistaking the sort of day that lay ahead!

“This was a company day like no other,” adds Ashfield Account Director, Heather Sharp. “Delegates were able to hear and understand the direction of the business from senior leaders in the morning, and through activities that included circus skills, tent-building and a game to collect items for care packs for homeless people, they got to experience the values of the business – teamwork, courage, respect and integrity.”

Commended for the superiority of their award entry and ‘showing the impact of the content with some amazing ROI statistics’, the ICE judges decided unanimously that Ashfield and Sanofi should be the worthy winners.

“They quoted both the passion that drove them forward, but also made clear reference to the requirement for a ‘legacy.’ This was obviously not just a single event but there was a need for a lasting impression, reaching long after the conference,” said Adrian Evans, Director of Conference and Live Events for The NEC who both judged and sponsored the category.

Thrilled to achieve such recognition from ICE, Lorraine Lawrence summed up the success for both Ashfield and Sanofi.

“This was a true partnership and the result was a unique event that will resonate with our staff for the foreseeable future.”

For more information on how Ashfield delivers meetings and live events with certainty and impact, log on to

Cvent CONNECT Europe 2018 to Double in Size

i Jul 24th No Comments by

Event technology conference moves to larger venue after sell-out success last year  

LONDON – Cvent, Inc., a market leader in meetings, events, and hospitality technology, is set to welcome hundreds of industry professionals to the second annual Cvent CONNECT Europe conference. Following the sell-out success of the inaugural event in 2017, the conference will nearly double in size and will be hosted at the Business Design Centre in London, 1st – 2nd October 2018. Cvent also announced that Laura Schwartz, former Director of Events at the White House during the Clinton administration, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s event.

Cvent CONNECT Europe will provide attendees with more than 50 educational sessions covering the latest industry trends and best practices in addition to offering a hands-on experience in the Innovation Pavilion where Cvent’s latest product enhancements and innovations will be showcased in a live-demonstration setting.

The Power of Live

The theme of this year’s conference is “The Power of Live” which will focus in on the positive impact that live events have on the business world. The conference will offer joint sessions for both event and hospitality professionals to enable further networking opportunities among attendees and will also feature a Supplier Showcase to connect event organisers with top venues and destinations.

Laura Schwartz

As the former White House Director of Events, Laura Schwartz created events that represented a nation and inspired the world. At just 19, she arrived at the White House with no political connections and volunteered answering phones in the press office, quickly climbing her way up the ranks as a Staff Assistant, the Midwest Press Secretary, the Director of Television and ultimately the White House Director of Events. As the keynote speaker, Laura Schwartz will share the secrets to building powerful, effective partnerships through live events.


“We had very powerful positive feedback on the quality of content and networking that took place at the inaugural Cvent CONNECT Europe last year,” said David Chalmers, Senior Marketing Director, Cvent Europe.  “As a result, we are taking our event to the next level with more industry expert speakers, enhanced networking opportunities, and additional sessions dedicated to hands-on training across the Cvent platform. We are looking forward to another incredible conference in October.”

“Last year, more than 450 meetings, events and hospitality professionals gathered at Cvent CONNECT Europe, and now we are planning an event for nearly double that number,” said Patrick Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of Cvent. “The increase in attendance speaks to the value that Cvent CONNECT delivers.   It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for our attendees to learn how to harness the true power of events to meet their organizational goals.”

To register or to learn more about Cvent CONNECT Europe, please visit the Cvent CONNECT Europe website.


Impactful Partnership Working

i Jul 24th No Comments by


New MPI UK&I Chapter VP for Communications, Susan Arslan from HelmsBriscoe, presented a workshop on Education/Industry Partnership Working at the Association for Events Management Education (AEME) Conference this week.



The Conference was attended by Events Management academic and research staff from the UK and Europe, and much discussion took place during the day about how Universities and Industry could work together better. Examples of impactful partnership working that was suggested included more Industry practitioner input to the student learning experience, I.e. simply talking to students about what we do, offering placement opportunities for undergraduates; and Universities sharing their research more widely, making their work and publications accessible, so we in the industry can learn from their findings!

As HelmsBriscoe ARVP for UK Graduate recruitment, Susan was particularly interested to network with academic staff and learn how HelmsBriscoe can contribute to the education of future industry professionals, at the same time spreading awareness of HelmsBriscoe as a career choice. She took the opportunity to talk about MPI and the benefits of membership for both students and faculty, promoting our MPI Foundation sponsorships and Vanessa Cotton Scholarship prizes.


Experiential activities in meetings – there’s much more to come, according to MPI / IMEX research

i Jul 24th No Comments by

From meetings hanging in the air or in the dark to crowdsourcing agenda topics from the audience – the trend for engaging experiential interactive activities within business events is growing fast. Moreover, this growth pattern is set to continue and soon they will feature in most programs.

That is the key finding of new research carried out by MPI Outlook for the IMEX Group.

Looking back over the last three years, 87 per cent of the meeting professionals who responded had seen an increased demand from clients or colleagues to include more experiential activities into their programs, with 29 per cent noticing a significant increase.

Looking ahead, more than two thirds (69 per cent) expect to include experiential elements within meetings and conventions from now on, while a further 16 per cent will start adding them in a year or two. 5 per cent expect to introduce them in three years or more. Only 9 per cent have no plans to include them.

Respondents were also asked to define ‘experiential activities’ in meetings, conventions and events. Summarising the consensus of responses, the overall view and definition is that they are ‘activities that create an opportunity for attendees to use many senses and engage in an event while actively participating in a ‘hands-on’ way.’

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group says: “The phenomenal interest and positive responses to C2 International’s Learning Labs, the Live Zone and the many experiential elements of IMEX in Frankfurt this year reinforced our perception of the enthusiasm within the industry for experiential activities. Through our partnerships with C2 International and working with other groups, we’ll certainly be bringing an exciting range of new experiential ideas to IMEX America in October.

“This research quantifies and powerfully emphasizes the significance of this trend in the wider industry.”

Ashfield Meetings & Events welcome largest intake of students in seventh year of undergraduate placement scheme

i Jul 24th No Comments by

Ashfield Meetings & Events, the largest full service event management agency specialising in serving the healthcare sector, has this month welcomed its largest intake of students to its highly successful university placement scheme.

The scheme, now in its seventh year, provides undergraduates with the opportunity to blend their educational theory with vocational insight and experiences through a year-long work placement at the company. It’s gained a reputation for being one of the best in the industry thanks to its global reach, breadth of event types and award-winning training programme.

In March, students from various universities across the UK were invited to Ashfield Meetings & Events’ headquarters in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, to take part in a rigorous assessment process. During their visit, the students gained insight into the business, had a tour of the facilities and participated in group exercises, Q&As and individual presentations.

Seven students were selected for this year’s scheme – the largest intake to date, reflecting both Ashfield’s continued growth and its dedication to training the next generation of event planners. The seven will now join various departments across the company to play integral roles within their subsequent teams.

The students selected were; Emma Preston (Sheffield Hallam University), Nadine Thring (University Of Plymouth), Catriona Dick (Sheffield Hallam University), Jemma Aylesbury (Sheffield Hallam University), Grace Tufnell (Leeds Beckett University) join the agency as Project Administrators whilst Skye Peat (Sheffield Hallam University) joins as a Venue Sourcing Administrator and Ellie Taylor (University Of Lincoln) joins as Junior 3D Designer.

Helen Capelin (Head of Operational Excellence) said “We recognise that although the academic background is important, employees learn vital skills ‘on the job’. Our undergraduates completed a week long induction where they all demonstrated their enthusiasm and eagerness for joining our agency and industry, so we’re very pleased to offer these valuable placements to these lucky candidates.”

“We collaborated with Sheffield Hallam University earlier this year to give students insight into our business and the process of competing for new business in the events industry,” Helen continues. “It was fantastic seeing how engaged and enthused the students were during the project and of course, even more so having them pro-actively apply for a placement year with us.”

In addition to the new recruits, Ashfield Meetings & Events has recently welcomed back previous placement student Rebecca Crabbe as Project Executive. Six others have also returned to full-time permanent roles after completing their university studies since launching the scheme.

Helen Capelin commented: “It is a huge compliment to the company and the scheme to see students re-join our agency after they finish their studies. We’re thrilled Rebecca has returned and we look forward to helping her flourish within our organisation.”

Ashfield Meetings & Events and its sister brand SPARK THINKING continue to place a strong emphasis on connecting and strengthening relationships with academic institutions. Earlier this year, the agency also launched its ‘SPARK Inspo Club’, a joint initiative with a Nottingham-based primary school which aims to encourage the creative confidence of Year 6 pupils.

Helen Capelin adds: “We pride ourselves on delivering flawless meetings and events on a global basis and exposing our know-how to the students will be instrumental to their future careers in event management. But the scheme is also hugely beneficial to us as a business. We encourage our undergraduates to share their recent learnings, new ideas and fresh approaches to event planning, and it’s this that enables us to stay at the cutting edge of the industry for our clients.”

For more information about Ashfield Meetings & Events go to